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Eames Paper Elephant
Print, decorate, and assemble your own Eames Paper Elephant!
While experimenting with plywood, Charles and Ray Eames made numerous three-dimensional forms. They created sculptures, chairs with separate seats and backs (the DCW and LCW), aircraft parts, body litters and leg splints for the U.S. Navy, and numerous toys, such as the beloved Eames Plywood Elephant, designed in 1945.
The Elephant never went into production during the Eameses’ lifetime; however, in 2007, to mark Charles’s 100th birthday, Vitra produced a limited Anniversary Edition in both natural and red-stained maple to appeal to adults and children alike. Today, the company manufactures the toy in plastic (available in a variety of colors), molded plywood from American cherry, along with miniature Plywood Elephants made from maple.
You can celebrate the Eames Elephant—as well as the legacy of creativity and exploration that it represents—by decorating a miniature elephant of your own out of paper. Simply print this template and cut out the three forms (elephant head, body, and base). To create a sturdier elephant, use your printout as a template and trace it on to thicker paper or card stock. Before assembling your Eames Elephant embellish it with an array of materials, from markers and colored pencils to glitter and colored tape.
Looking for more inspiration? Look through the images in the gallery below to see paper elephants decorated by kids who have attended Eames Design Camps. Also, watch the three short films by Charles’s grandson, Eames Demetrios: